(WXIN/WTTV) — Former Purdue men’s basketball Terry Dischinger has died at 82, according to a press release sent by the NBA on Tuesday.
A two-time consensus first-team All-American, Dischinger played three full seasons for the Boilermakers. He likely would’ve played four, but the NCAA did not allow true freshmen to play until the 1972-73 academic year.
During his time in West Lafayette, Dischinger earned a spot on the U.S. Men’s National Team, helping his country earn a Gold Medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Dischinger’s Olympic run came 32 years before the U.S. began using NBA players to fill its national team’s roster in 1992. Before that point, the U.S. used college players to compete in the Olympics.
The 1960 U.S. Men’s National Team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Dischinger was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019 for exploits as a Boilermaker.
After he graduated from Purdue with a degree in chemical engineering, Dischinger was drafted by the NBA’s Chicago Zephyrs in 1962. He was the 10th overall pick in a draft that featured 16 rounds and 102 selections. Today, the NBA Draft is just two rounds and 60 picks long.
Dischinger wasted little time getting his feet wet in the NBA, winning the league’s Rookie of the Year award in 1963. He averaged 25.5 points, eight rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
After a breakout start to his pro career, Dischinger took the 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons off to serve in the U.S. Army. He returned to the NBA in 1967 to play for the Detroit Pistons.
By the time Dischinger had returned to the NBA, the Zephyrs had moved from Chicago to Baltimore and been renamed the Bullets. The Bullets moved to Washington in 1973 and have remained there since — though the team’s nickname changed from Bullets to Wizards in 1997.
Dischinger was involved in two trades in his career. He was traded by the Zephyrs/Bullets to the Pistons in June 1964, according to an archived New York Times story.
After five seasons in Detroit from 1964-65 to 1970-71, Dischinger was traded to Portland, per vintagedetroit.com. The 1972-73 season was Dischinger’s last in the NBA. He averaged 6.1 points, three rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.
After he retired from pro basketball, Dischinger went on to become an orthodontist in the Portland area. He practiced in Lake Oswego, Oregon, for more than 30 years. According to the NBA’s press release, Dischinger became one of the most influential orthodontists in the world, holding numerous patents and traveling the world to teach other orthodontists.